After a far from enthralling goalless draw at St Andrews just over a week ago, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City lock horns once again as they battle it out for a place in the FA Cup fourth round.
A trip to Bramall Lane to face League One side Sheffield United awaits the winners – a difficult tie but one both clubs would be confident of progressing from.
The two sides head into this Midlands derby having displayed vastly contrasting form in recent weeks.
Without a win in eight games, stretching back to a 2-1 success over Sunderland in early December, Mick McCarthy’s Wolves sit second bottom of the Premier League form table and just one point separates them from the relegation zone.
They have managed to pick up just four points from the last available 15 and only one point from their previous three home games. And with Premier League survival the main aim for the club, a defeat to Birmingham tomorrow evening would be far from an upset.
With eight goals scored in their previous two fixtures and their defence breached just three times in six games, backing the Blues to claim a Premier League scalp looks a very smart bet.
They are priced at 21/20 favourites to emerge victorious after 90 minutes and 11/20 to advance to the next round and will certainly be buoyed by their impressive 1-1 draw away at title contenders Tottenham last Saturday, courtesy of Steven Fletcher’s ninth strike of the season.
However, the Old Gold haven’t looked convincing at Molineux this season, winning under half of their ten league games on home soil and keeping just two clean sheets in all competitions.
What appears evident is that they’ll face a difficult task as they welcome a Birmingham side who have been in good nick of late.
The Blues have recorded successive victories since the sides last met, after a 2-1 win at home to Ipswich was followed by a 6-0 demolition of Millwall at the New Den at the weekend.
Chris Hughton’s side are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions, as they sit just one place outside the Championship play-off spots.
Birmingham head into the fixture at a very tempting 13/5 to win in normal time and 13/10 to win the tie, and with eight goals scored in their previous two fixtures and their defence breached just three times in six games, backing the Blues to claim a Premier League scalp looks a very smart bet.
Molineux has been a happy hunting ground for the Blues in recent years, having collected two wins and two draws from their last five visits.
And with the side likely to head into this game in a far more confident mood than their opponents, who will have one eye on their game at home to Aston Villa this weekend, a narrow 1-0 Birmingham victory at 35/4 looks a great shout.
Punters receive a free £25 bet for joining bwin.com and using this to back Blues to win 1-0 would return an impressive £243.75 if Hughton’s men grab the only goal of the game.
After all, with the first meeting proving to be a cagey affair that produced very few chances for either team, it’s unlikely that this fixture will provide a goalfest.
Football betting odds of 18/25 on the game to involve under 2.5 goals are certainly also worth considering, with the draw after 90 minutes priced at 9/4.
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